Wednesday 20 February 2019

Snowdrops at Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens

This is a collaboration with English Heritage

We have a long running joke in our car that whenever we drive past somewhere I want to visit I will make a big thing of pointing it out and exclaiming "ah we need to go there" every single time. Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens is somewhere I've been pointing at for as long as I can remember so we decided that this year we should perhaps stop pointing at it and finally make a visit. Having heard that the snowdrops at Belsay are pretty special it seemed like the perfect excuse to make a plan.

Snowdrops at Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens

Run by English Heritage, Belsay is a particularly unique place unlike any other I've ever visited in the North East. Where else can you see Grecian architecture, a medieval castle and 30 acres of gardens all in one place? Just imagine living in a place like that!

As it was our first visit, the ladies at the front desk were so helpful giving us a brief history of Belsay and directions around the estate and when I started enthusiastically quizzing them on the snowdrops they pointed out the best areas for me to find them. I really love having a proper introduction when we're exploring somewhere new and they were so friendly.

Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens

We began our adventure at Belsay Hall, a beautiful country mansion with a twist, the owners decided to model their home on a Honeymoon trip to Athens and the Greek-revival architecture was absolutely stunning. Simon and I aren't usually particularly fussed about looking round the interiors of stately houses and much prefer exploring the grounds outside but we were both speechless stepping into the Hall for the first time. It was seriously impressive.

With huge columns and the most spectacular natural light, the Hall has been left unfurnished so you can truly appreciate the building in its natural state. Upstairs is a warren of rooms with fire places, original wallpaper and huge windows showing off some really lovely views of the Northumberland countryside.

Belsay Hall

The main reason for our visit in the Winter was to see the snowdrops. Belsay Hall has come up in my research a lot when I've been hunting down the best snowdrops in the North East so I've been keen to see them for a while.

The snowdrops at Belsay are scattered around the site and we found our first small cluster close to the Hall. There are several types of snowdrop at Belsay and the ones near the Hall are particularly spectacular and a variety I've not seen before.

Belsay Hall - Snowdrops
They had perfectly formed almost claw shaped flowers and certainly weren't the same as those you tend to see littering the floors in woodland.

Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens - Snowdrops

The walk from the Hall to the Castle is around half a mile and took us through the Quarry Gardens, 30 acres of Grade I listed gardens built around winding paths and huge rock formations. Although there aren't too many flowers in the Winter, I hear that it's a stunning walk in the Spring and Summer with one of the biggest collection of Rhododendron in the country. I bet the colours look stunning against the backdrop of the dramatic rocks and I'm definitely making a plan to return in the warmer months to experience it for myself.

Belsay Hall, Castle and Quarry Gardens

Belsay Castle suddenly appeared in front of us with little warning, looking beautiful against the Northumberland countryside, it's designed to impress. I found myself doing a little skip as we headed towards it, if there's one thing I love it's exploring a castle, perhaps it's my inner diva screaming to be a princess!

Belsay Castle is partly ruined and is full of secret rooms, winding staircases and hidden corners - perfect for exploring (or losing your husband in!). We had a good explore as we made our way through the building imagining what life must have been like when the castle was first built.

Belsay Castle

As a huge fan of views I couldn't wait to get myself up the 56 spiral steps to the top of the tower, it's probably the only time that you'll ever see me that keen to climb that many stairs and knowing how great the view at the top was going to be I couldn't wait to get to the roof.

The view across the Northumberland countryside was beautiful, we could see where we'd just walked, spotted a few more snowdrops and enjoyed trying to guess what other places we could see as we peeped between the turrets.

Belsay Castle - Views

The walk back to the entrance from the Castle is where we found most of the snowdrops, little clusters of them dotted underneath the trees. Every time we spotted some more I couldn't resist stopping for a look. They really are so beautiful and I can't help but feel so excited about Spring every time I see them.

Belsay Castle - Snowdrops

We finished our visit with lunch at the Victorian Tearoom. We usually take a bait box with us but I'd read that they serve stotties in the tearoom and if there's one thing I can't resist it's a stottie. We'd got slightly chilly walking around the estate so a hot sausage stottie was the perfect treat to warm us up - did I mention how much I love a stottie?  The tearoom at Belsay is pretty small so if you're planning a visit I recommend lunching early, we had our bums on a seat by 12:00 pm and within about 10 minutes every seat was taken.

We really loved our first ever visit to Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens and since being on our trip so many people have told me about the great memories they have of enjoying the estate as a child so if it's been a while since you last visited I highly recommend popping by for a visit and if, like me, you love snowdrops it really is one of the loveliest place in the North East for a stroll.

Belsay Castle Snowdrop Walk

What you need to know:

Belsay Hall Castle and Gardens is run by English Heritage and costs £9.50 for adults, £5.70 for children and £8.60 concessions. Members of English Heritage are free.

Opening times are daily 10:00 - 16:00 but please check the website before you visit.

There is a free carpark on site with two overflow carparks.

Find Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens at:

Nr Morpeth
NE20 0DU

01661 881 636

We are very kindly given a complimentary press pass every year to enjoy the English Heritage sites in the North East at our leisure. English Heritage had no idea we were visiting on this day and have not asked us to share our day. 


  1. That looks like such a lovely place to go - the snowdrops are gorgeous.

    1. They're beautiful arent they? Make me so excited for Summer!


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